Chicken with tarragon

This is the NYT version which looks very close to the Elizabeth David Summer Cooking version except we have the addition of the white wine


  • 1 roasting chicken, 3 to 4 pounds
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon butter kneaded with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour to make beurre manie
  • ⅔ cup light cream (not ultrapasteurized)


Remove the giblets from the chicken, and reserve them for another use. Place the chicken in a bowl or sink, and pour the boiling water over it. This French trick tightens the skin of the bird, which in turn seals in the flavor better. Dry the chicken with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Blend the softened butter with half the tarragon and a little salt and pepper. Place the herb butter in the cavity of the chicken, then place the chicken in a cast-iron casserole, pour the wine over it, cover, and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a hot serving dish. Stir the beurre manie into juices in the casserole, and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and the remaining tarragon, and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened. Pour the sauce over or around chicken, and serve immediately.

Elizabeth David Summer Cooking version

Work a tablespoon of chopped tarragon leaves with 60g butter, season with salt and pepper and stuff a 3lb (1.4kg or so) roasting chicken with the mixture. Cook the chicken in butter in a thick, covered casserole. The bird should be laid on its side, not breast upwards, and should be turned over half way through the cooking and basted now and again with the tarragon flavored butter that comes out of it.

When it is tender remove to a serving dish and stir into the juices in the pan a walnut of butter worked with a teaspoon of flour. When this has amalgamated, add a quarter pint of cream, and two tablespoons of chopped tarragon. Bring to the boil and when it has thickened pour it over the chicken.


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